Hardware advice



I’m building a computer for a friend to be used as a gaming machine.
The goal is to be able to play BF2 on the max graphics settings, I have a few questions I’d like to run past my geeky peers before I proceed:

I shall be using this bundle for the pc

The person I’m building the PC for currently has a 3.2Ghz Intel processor.
How does a 2.4Ghz AMD Athlon64 3800+ compare to that?
Might seem like a daft question but I don’t use AMD so I’m not really sure how they compare to Intel.
I’ve read that an AMD chip can out perform an Intel chip of a higher clock speed but I’m not sure how to compare the two.

This bundle uses 2 x 256MB Inno3D 7600GT cards.
This isn’t exactly the most advanced card available but surely it will play BF2 on max settings?

On to the OS.
Does anyone know what the difference between this
and this is?

A difference of about £100 in what appears to be the same OS doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.


That processor is quite old, but will run BF2 well.

Im guessing the intel is a tad better, but obviously you cant just swap them round as you need a different motherboard.

The thing everyones going for now are dual core processors, which gives much better performance, im sure theyre quite a bit more though.


The difference between those 2 Vista products are that the cheaper one is 'OEM' which basically means just the disk. The other is 'Retail' which comes in a nice shiny box with free bedroom wall poster, etc.

The actual product is not different, so the cheaper one should be fine.
The bundle only comes with 2 GB of RAM, and you are planning on running Vista. 2GB is the absolute minumum recommended by those in the know to run Vista (badly), so you may want to think about that.

On the same subject, why are you putting Vista on anyway - it doesn't support fuck all at the moment anyway, better off with XP.



I’ve heard that SP1 for Vista is expected in the next 3-6 months, with that in mind I thought I may as well put the new OS on this PC.

I may have a think on that one…


Goku - I agree with what others have said so far, if you are building a 'gaming rig' steer clear of Vista for a while yet.
WRT the bundle you have chosen, I dont think it is that good a deal to be honest, especially those graphics cards, pretty old tech really.

I constantly upgrade my computer and usually buy my stuff from
Scan computers who have a 'today only' page with special offers on.

If I were you, I would look at building a rig based on an Intel Core2Duo processor with an ATI X1950 PRO or Nvidia 7900GS.

A good place to look for comparisons on different CPU's or Graphics cards is:
Toms Hardware

Hope this helps,


War Hero
When you say run BF2 at max settings, what monitor are you using? BF2 on max settings for a dell 30" at 2560x1900 is a good bit different to 1024x768 in terms of processort spec.

At the highes res the specs you have wont play the game, and by the upcoming game spec requirements BF2 is tame.

Crysis for example will require DX10 compatable cards for the best experience and 7600' are not DX 10 compatable. There is a good case to say get a 8800 GTS 640Meg single rather than 2 x 7600, as you will get more from the card and its dx10 compatable. He can always sli it later should the need arise.

2142 is more demanding and my brother uses a dual core amd (about the same speed i think) and a single 8800 gtx and it allows him to run it with full settings on a 20" monitor at 1600x1200.

If you want to run at max res then at least 2 x 8800 gts in sli with the fastest dual core cpu you can afford is required. AMD dual core is cheaper than intel but intel core duo's are currently the best you can get for speed.

As an example, i have a 5200 dual core with 590i motherboard and a single 8800 gtx and 2gig mem, which plays 2142 on max res on 2560 x 1900 (or whatever the max setting is) same with bf2, but it struggles a bit with FEAR v1.08 when theres lots of activity. If i sli'd with another gtx then it would be fine.

The short answer is of course, what games, what monitor, how much future proofing, and how much money. Money being the all important question!

If you want to PM the amount you have to spend i dont mind having a go at pricing the best gameing spec i can find for the money. and sending you a link.
Alienware produce high end systems for gamers etc. They are hugely expensive, however you can get some good ideas for build components from the specs of their high end machines. It is possible to build the equivilent of an alienware PC for a huge discount if you buy sensibly and use a cheap case.

Agree with everyone else, steer clear of Vista for now - as with all Microshaft products it needs time to have the bugs service packed out of it before it becomes viable.


War Hero
Oh i forgot, i have been using vista ultimate now for 2 weeks (including 1 complete re-install as Nero 7 trashed it) It isnt as buggy as people portray, to a point. The main gripe is that lots of 3rd party software is poorly written and it has unforseen repurcussions in vista, which in my case meant a re-install.

If you tread carefull then its fine, for games you need to add 200 mhz to your cpu from the recomended to cover the vista overhead, and 2 gig should be considered a min for memory.

The up side is that you wont have to change OS when the dx 10 games come out, which for a PC that you are building now is worth considering as they start beign released in about 2 months.


Goku said:
On to the OS.
Does anyone know what the difference between this
and this is?

A difference of about £100 in what appears to be the same OS doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
One of the Os is the OEM version another is the Full retail version.

OEM is normally sold onto copmanies etc building computers and floggin them on, you can buy this and use it without problems, you will not howerver be able to get online assistance from windows, you are also unlikely to get the book or even a box just a cd and installation code, but it is still the same OS and if you aint worried about having a book or online assistance then get it.

RETAIL - is the full version of the OS as above but comes with complete care pacakge such as after sales support from windows alsos comes in a nice box and with an instruction manual.

Tryin doing a search on google type "What does OEM mean" and this should help a little more


War Hero
Also OEM in terms of vista means a clean install on one system, if you change the motherboard in the future then it will not authorise. You cannot run it as an upgrade install.

Upgrade has to have another version of windows on yoru pc before it will allow you to install vista. You can reinstall though if you change pc parts.

Retail will upgrade or clean install as many times as you like.

The actual disks have the same info on them, its the cd key that specifies the version you have. On the upgrade one you can do a clean install but you need to install xp and as soon as it boots havign installed you can run vista install. This renames the old os directory as windows.old and you can delete it once vista is installed. It is a clean install, if a little messy to have to install 2 os's to get one. But it goes for £50-£70 on ebay, (Premium Home) which is the same price as OEM in the shops, and you can use it again.

Ultimate has a few extra features and goes for about £110-£130 for upgrade on ebay. Unless you want to have remote access through the OS to your PC then there isnt really any point in the extra money. If you plan to look at Windows Home Server when it comes out later then you will probably want ultimate as it will support remote access through IE fromany pc in the world and it needs you main pc to be running ultimate or buiness editions.

As an aside if you are interested in WHS then the beta 2 is out and has some usefull features, not least comlete automatic back up of your pc daily. But as a beta there are a few things that you need to think through before you start. I have had to install it 3 times now to correct lessons i learned to late in the day, one of which was the size of the HD you use as the primary drive, which should be as big as you possibly can afford/have lieing around.


Right I’m still playing with this…

These are the parts I’m thinking of using:-

Intel 2.13 Ghz duo core 2 CPU



320MB XFX 8800GTS graphics card

250Gb HD SATA300


DVD writer

Case with big **** off fan

Windows XP Home OEM

The criteria I’m working to is:-
1. There’s a budget of which I’m just under, it may be flexible with discussion.
2. PC must be upgradeable / future proof
3. must be SLI ready
4. must have a kick ass CPU
5. must have a kick ass graphics card.

So what do you all think?


War Hero
XP Home is AWFULL as an OS, and you can get get vista for £50 on ebay (Home Premium) Go higher in GPU if you can squeeze more money out of the bloke, aim for 8800 gtx or 640Meg GTS version if money allows.

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